Life Style Preferences in Personality Type

1 Mar

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, a proven instrument for testing personality type*, includes a number of questions that reflect whether a person is a Judging (J) or a Perceiving (P) type. Do not mistake the Judging type for a person who is judgmental. Let us look at what traits actually define these two opposite life style preferences.

JUDGING TYPES comprise about 55% of the population and are goal-oriented in most areas of their lives. This makes them rather serious – also because they prefer a more scheduled, routine life style. They like to plan for activities well in advance of an event, even if the event is supposed to be fun and carefree.

The point at which the Judging types worry is before a decision has been made. They want to gather their information as expeditiously as possible, make their decision, and then move on to their next task or plan.

In the animal kingdom Jean Eva has likened the Judging types to the beaver, who is nature’s engineer. The beaver cuts down his tree, swims with it to his lodge, muds up the lodge, and then begins all over again.

PERCEIVING TYPES comprise about 45% of the population and are spontaneous, playful, and at times impulsive. Instead of being goal-oriented, Perceivers get into whatever they love to do and are unstoppable. Think here of Mozart, who sat down to play and didn’t get up until many hours later after he had composed a new melody or two. Perceivers are in the moment and loving it!

The point at which the Perceiving types worry is after a decision has been made. They ask themselves, “Could I have gotten any more information if I had waited longer?” And they think that the answer is probably, Yes.

In the animal kingdom Jean Eva has likened the Perceiving types to the river otter, one of the most playful and spontaneous creatures in the world of nature. He sits on a log, not thinking about where his next meal will come from. Along comes a school of fish and he easily snags one, bringing it to shore to munch on and enjoy. After that, with great ease he lolls back on the sand bank until he decides to frolic in the water for a while.

You can see that these types are not just different, they are opposites. Which one do you think best describes your life style? Do you see how living with someone with opposite life style preferences might be a challenge? Let me know your thoughts and whether you are coping with this important difference in personality type in any of your relationships!

*The MBTI was first devised in the early 1940s and was initially tested on medical and nursing students. The instrument was then taken over by the Educational Testing Service in Princeton, NJ. Research on various applications of the MBTI continues today under the Center for Application of Personality Type.

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